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Publishing reports, editing them in Power BI Service and using dashboards/tiles
Part six of a six-part series of blogs

This blog shows how to publish reports that you've created in Power BI Desktop to Power BI Service. The blog also shows how you can create and edit reports online, how to create dashboards and add tiles, and how to get insights into your data.

  1. Using Power BI Service (publishing, dashboards, etc.)
  2. Publishing to Power BI Service
  3. Creating and editing reports in Power BI Service
  4. Creating dashboards and basic tiles
  5. Adding tiles from other sources to a dashboard
  6. Analysing data within Power BI Service (this blog)

This blog is part of a longer series, which together comprise a full online training course in Power BI Service.  You can see get details of our classsrom Power BI training courses here.

Posted by Andy Brown on 29 June 2017

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Analysing data within Power BI Service

Power BI Service includes two ways in which you can analyse data: by getting quick insights, and by asking questions.

Quick Insights

When you publish a report, Power BI Desktop asks if you want to get quick insights into its underlying dataset:

Quick Insights button

You can choose the option shown to get some insights into your data!


You can also get to the same option once you've published a report - here's one way:

View Insights option

Click on a dataset, and choose the VIEW INSIGHTS option shown.

Whether you like what this generates is up to you!

Quick Insights results

Two of the four insights generated for this dataset.

Although I've had course delegates swear by this feature, to me it's an example of AI not working.  The "insights" are usually either incomprehensible or blindingly obvious.

Asking Questions

When you create a dashboard, you can specify whether the Ask Question banner should appear above it:

Allow Q&A search box

When editing the settings for a dashboard, you can choose whether to display the Q&A search box.


Provided you're not too ambitious, you can then ask questions in what I'm sure Microsoft would love to say was natural language:

Example of question

If you keep your questions to specifics, Q&A works well, as this example shows.

I've found the Intellisense in the question editor can get quite annoying!

Using synonyms

It's worth adding that if the field and table names aren't easy to remember, you can set synonyms in Power BI Desktop and use these in your questions. Start by going to the Synonyms facility:

Synonyms option

Bizarrely, the only way to get to this is through Relationships view.  You can the click on the Synonyms tool on the Modelling tab of the ribbon.


Now type in alternative names for some (or all) of your tables and columns:

Alternative synonyms

Here I've typed alternative names for everything.

Publish your report - you should now be able to type in more natural questions in Q&A:

Summing tests by category

I'm not sure my question was very good (although it did use the synonym Category for the test family), but the answer is clever!

And that completes this part of this long training blog on Power BI Service.  Next up - links between Power BI Service and Excel.

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